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Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix Split: Who Gets What When Unmarried Couples Split?

By Jordan Walker, J.D. | Last updated on

“Vanderpump Rules” star Ariana Madix called it quits on her relationship with Tom Sandoval after finding out about his alleged affair with co-star Raquel Leviss. The VPR breakup has been trending (#pumprules if you're curious, which, you know you are) on social media since news of the cheating scandal broke last week.

Other cast members of the reality show wasted no time sharing their feelings about the affair. Lala Kent and James Kennedy made it clear they're “Team Ariana” by posting multiple Instagram stories over the weekend condemning Sandoval and Leviss. Us Weekly released photos showing castmates Katie Maloney and Scheana Shay on their way to comfort Madix. Kristen Doute, former cast member and Sandoval's ex who was dumped for Madix during season two of the reality tv show, showed support by posting a selfie of her and Madix. Even Stassi Schroeder, who announced her second pregnancy last week, found time to voice her support of Madix.

With all this drama, it's easy to forget that the former couple has built a life together and likely accumulated a good amount of other property during their nine-year relationship. However, the reality stars never married, so what will happen to their property now that they've gone their separate ways?

Laws for Unmarried Couples

Unmarried couples do not have the same legal rights and protections as married couples.

When married couples separate, divorce laws dictate how to divide the property acquired together during the marriage. But these laws don't apply to unmarried couples who jointly own property.

Jointly Owned Real Estate

In 2019, Madix purchased a $2 million house with Sandoval (who is also the lead singer for Tom Sandoval and the Most Extras) in Los Angeles. Tabloids like TMZ and Page Six reported that Sandoval was seen leaving their home with packed bags and suitcases on Friday. It's still unclear who will take ownership of the home.

Because Madix and Sandoval aren't married but own real estate together, they may have addressed their ownership interests in a cohabitation property agreement instead of a prenuptial agreement, which you sign before getting married.

A cohabitation property agreement is a legal contract that determines how to divide property acquired during the relationship if the relationship ends. This agreement allows couples to spell out their rights regarding property they share by defining who owns what and how the property will be distributed if the couple breaks up or if someone in the relationship dies.

If you are your significant other are buying property together before marriage, you should also consider a property or cohabitation agreement. Because property laws and family laws can vary by state, you should consult an attorney in your state for legal advice before purchasing real estate together.

Other Property

Sandoval also acquired two restaurants during his relationship with Madix. He owns and operates Schwartz and Sandy's and TomTom with his costar, best friend, and business partner, Tom Schwartz. Although ownership of TomTom is also shared by Lisa Vanderpump, Madix has zero property interest in either restaurant.

The restaurants are Sandoval's unless Madix can prove there was a common intention that she would be entitled to a share in the properties. To do so, she would have to show that intention in writing or establish that she did the following:

  • Contributed to the purchase price
  • Made loan payments
  • Paid for upkeep and maintenance

Fans can expect to see how everything went down later this season (and hopefully learn more about the alleged “Chris Rock” smack in the face Leviss received after appearing on “Watch What Happens Live” last week).

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